EU survey highlights lower prospects for career advancement for older workers

Eurofound, the European Foundation for Working and Living Conditions, has released its sixth release of the Working Conditions Survey, conducted since 1001 by interviewing almost 36.000 interviews with employees and self-employed. The survey finds that older workers often lack opportunities for training and advancing their careers.

Positive developments in the report include a reduction of exposure to risks related to posture in work, an increasing share of women in supervising positions (33%) and a majority of respondents expressing satisfaction with their working time (58%).

Older worker's challenges

Older workers report a high risk of being in painful or tiring positions (43%) and are the group which is the least learning new things on the job (33%) and takes the least part in training activities (38%, compared to 43% for 35-49 year-olds and 41% for under 35 year-olds). They also report poor prospects for advancing their career (71%). Older workers are most affected by restructuring or reorganisation.

Gender differences and challenges to work-life balance

However, gender differences remain, as men work more frequently longer hours, report more paid working hours and are better informed about health and safety risks at their job. Women spend more time on work if paid work across several jobs, commuting time and unpaid work is combined. Care responsibilities and unpaid domestic work are unevenly shared by women and men, with women undertaking a bigger share of unpaid work. More than half of workers work at least one Saturday per month and only one in five employees is able to adapt the starting and finishing times of their work within designated margins. 45% of workers say that they have worked in their free time in order to meed demands and 21% feel too tired to do some of the necessary household jobs.

Changing nature of work, increasing numbers of reported discrimination

Work is becoming more concentrated, with more work to tight deadlines and has become faster. This can pose a challenge especially to older workers. 17% of women and 15% of men report having been exposed to adverse social behaviour, and 7%, an increasing number, report to have experienced discrimination.

For more information on this survey: Eurofound, First findings: Sixth European Working Conditions Survey

For more information on AGE work on the employment of older workers, please contact Philippe Seidel AGE Policy Officer:

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